Okay, okay I AM feeling guilty that at least 6 people a day are visting this site only to think "that lazy crossbill loving tosser can't be doing much these days". Well that couldn't be further from the truth though I am back and will try to post some interesting stuff as it happens. Will also post some retrospective stuff especially from my summer holidays at Glen Affric which was fabby dabby - not only were the dragonflies in abundance but also had Parrot Crossbills in upper Glen Affric and Scottish at Coire Loch and at Corrimony. Loadsa Cresties as well - a bird that we really miss in Deeside.
In relation to a recent post on Bird Forum here is a nice pic from a hide session of a 2cy Scottish Crossbill on 13/07/08:
This individual was ringed as a pullus in the nest by a GRG colleague on 31/3/07 and he was pleased of the report that it was still alive over a year later. For those that are camera geeks I am afraid the equipment was modest: Nikon D70S, Tamron 200-500mm lens. It was shot on ISO400 as the light was pretty crap and it may have been raining a bit too. Was taken at around 9 feet distance from a Keatley Standard Dome Hide. These hides are fantastic and well worth the outlay. I also use the bag hide but it is harder to sit in for long periods and is more of an 'ad hoc' option in my opinion.
Now, me and my mate would know that this is a Scottish Crossbill, even without the ringing info (though we don't measure bios on pullus), but be honest what would you have it down as and why ? Now you can see why most of those photos on Birdguides and Surfbirds that are submitted as Scottish are actually Parrots !